Kevork Djansezian & David McNew/Getty Images
Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina
A new poll indicates that Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer holds a slight lead over her Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.
The survey by Public Policy Polling places Boxer ahead of Fiorina 50 percent to 42 percent.
The poll, conducted last week, has a margin of error of 3.9 percent. That means the race may be much closer.
The group also surveyed all registered voters — not just likely voters — and therefore it’s less reliable than polls that survey people who regularly participate in elections.
The survey is an automated poll in which the person who answers the phone presses a number to indicate a choice — a generally less reliable poll than those in which someone asks questions.
A statement by Public Policy Polling said the survey suggested that independent voters have turned sharply against Boxer — and that they, for the first time, prefer Fiorina. In a July survey by the same company, Boxer led Fiorina among independents 48 percent to 38 percent. She now trails among independents 38 percent to 50 percent.
But the survey also indicated that 80 percent of Democrats back Boxer. Fiorina will need to win over more swing Democrats to beat the three-term incumbent.